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Pfizer says COVID-19 vaccine highly efficient against U.K. variant in Israel

The results of the study, released Thursday, show that people who aren't vaccinated are far more likely to develop symptomatic COVID-19 and die of infection. File Photo by John Angelillo/UPI | <a href="/News_Photos/lp/3496992c256372fc34caa27892e82a2b/" target="_blank">License Photo</a>
The results of the study, released Thursday, show that people who aren't vaccinated are far more likely to develop symptomatic COVID-19 and die of infection. File Photo by John Angelillo/UPI | License Photo

March 11 (UPI) -- Pharma giant Pfizer said Thursday that the coronavirus vaccine it developed with BioNTech has proven in real-world studies to be overwhemingly effective in Israel, the second analysis of its kind in the last three weeks.

Pfizer said it, BioNTech and Israel's health ministry examined the effects of the vaccine between January 17 and March 6 and found it to be 97% effective in preventing symptomatic disease, severe and critical disease and death.

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The companies said the results are significant because they cover a period when the B.1.1.7 COVID-19 variant was the most dominant strain in Israel, indicating that the vaccine works well against the mutation.

"We are extremely encouraged that the real-world effectiveness data," Dr. Luis Jodar, senior vice president and chief medical officer of Pfizer Vaccines, said in a statement.

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They also said the vaccine proved over the study period to be 94% effective in preventing asymptomatic cases.

"The findings ... are particularly meaningful as we look to disrupt the spread of the virus around the globe," Jodar added.

The study also notes that those who weren't vaccinated were 44 times more likely to develop symptomatic COVID-19 and 29 times more likely to die of infection.

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Late last month, Pfizer released data from the first real-world study of its vaccine, clinical information that was collected after the vaccine was approved for widespread use in global populations in December. Tested among 600,000 recipients, that data showed the vaccine to be 94% effective in preventing symptomatic cases.

The data released by Pfizer, BioNTech and the health ministry will be submitted to a peer-reviewed journal, officials said.

"This clearly demonstrates the power of the COVID-19 vaccine to fight this virus and encourages us to continue even more intensively with our vaccination campaign," Ministry of Health Director Yeheskel Levy said.

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A year in pandemic: How COVID-19 changed the world

January 31, 2020
National Institutes of Health official Dr. Anthony Fauci (C) speaks about the coronavirus during a press briefing at the White House in Washington, D.C. Health and Human Services Secretary Alexander Azar (L) announced that the United States is declaring the virus a public health emergency and issued a federal quarantine order of 14 days for 195 Americans. Photo by Leigh Vogel/UPI | License Photo

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